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the stories at this hour. a japanese power company has resumed construction of a nuclear plant in northern japan. the restart is the first of its kind in the country since last year's nuclear accident. it's drawing opposite reactions from two municipalities. the plant in ohma town, aomori prefecture, is about 40% complete. construction stopped after the march 11th quake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis last year. the president of the electric
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power development company, or j-power, attended a meeting of the town's assembly on monday. he reported the restart. the town's mayor welcomed the decision. >> translator: i'm relieved that the construction has finally resumed. >> ohma has been receiving grants from the central government for hosting the plant. the town uses the funds to build public schools and run hospitals. the resumption is expected to create new jobs. across the street from ohma is the city of hakodate. it opposes the restart. parts of the municipality are within 30 kilometers of the plant. residents are worried about safety. hakodate's mayor says the project should be frozen indefinitely. he says the city plans to take legal action to stop it. >> translator: our city is considering a lawsuit. i want to prepare quickly.
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>> industry minister yukio edano says power companies should bear the primary responsibility of winning approval of local municipalities for resuming construction of nuclear plants. he says this remains unchanged from before last year's disaster. members of japan's nuclear regulation authority say they'll examine the ohma plant using new safety standards. they say they won't allow the facility to operate unless it meets the requirements. japan's prime minister is looking ahead to a fall full of challenges, and he's trying to be ready. yoshihiko noda reshuffled his cabinet. he replaced more than half of the ministers. noda's aiming to boost support for his ruling coalition. the opposition is pushing him to call a general election. the new cabinet was officially inaugurated on monday evening after a ceremony at the imperial palace.
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noda kept koichiro gemba as foreign minister. former diet affairs chief of the main ruling democratic party koriki jojima will take over as finance minister. defense minister satoshi morimoto retains his post. he's the first person from the private sector to hold the job. deputy chief cabinet secretary and upper house member hiroyuki nagahama is becoming the nuclear crisis minister. he will also be in charge of the environment ministry. reconstruction minister tatsuo hirano is holding on to his portfolio. noda explained some of the reasoning behind the reshuffle. >> translator: this reshuffle is aimed at strengthening cooperation among officials of the government and the ruling parties and improving how the cabinet functions so we can better handle the issues we face. >> noda also referred to the territorial row with china over the senkaku islands in the east china sea.
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he said there is no doubt the islands are inherent japanese territory both historically and under international law. the prime minister noted japan controls the islands, but he added both sides should stay calm as they try to resolve the situation. >> translator: i think the most important thing right now is to find a way to cool things down using dialogue through various channels. >> noda says he has no plans to take the senkaku matter to the international court of justice. that's what his government is trying to do with the territorial dispute it has with south korea. employees have punched the clock for the first time at a rival steelmaker. they used to work for rival companies. a merger of nippon steel corporation and sumitomo metal industries brought them under one roof. nhk world's chie tanaka
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reports. >> reporter: the new company will be called nippon steel & sumitomo metal corporation. >> translator: we will survive the global competition and turn the company into the world's number-one steel maker. >> reporter: executives expect to cut costs by reorganizing steel mills and cutting back office operations. they plan to develop new products by combining technologies. nippon steel was the world's top producer in the 1970s but has since slipped to sixth place. sumitomo metal industries is a global 27th in terms of output. the pairing of the company will be second only to the luxembourg-based arcelormittal. tough competition is driving the merger. china's economic strength has helped their steel makers to beat their rivals. and south koreans are closing the technological gap with japan.
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the japanese steel makers are trying to regain leverage with major resource companies. they hope joining forces will make them more competitive and help clear a path into emerging markets. but the new company faces a bumpy start. before the merger, they projected joint net losses much bigger than expected, $3.6 billion for the first half of fiscal 2012. the stronger yen is to blame. slowing demand is also a concern due to the global economic downturn. that means japan's new steel giant has little margin for error or time to waste if it is to beat competition in the global market. chie tanaka, nhk world.
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the united nations population fund has marked the day of elder perps with celebrating life expectancies but warning of risks that come with aging societies. the fund's executive director launched the report in tokyo. it says rising living standards are creating older societies. it estimates that by 2050 one in five people in the world will be over 60. that's up from one in nine today. he also warned that populations in developing countries will age faster than those in developed countries. he cited a u.n. estimate that 80% of the world's elderly will live in developing countries by 2015. >> if the developing countries of the world don't begin to put social policies in place, it might catch up to them so fast that it might become a challenge.
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>> the u.n. official says countries should make full use of the older labor force for long-term economic growth. he called on japan to share its experiences as the country's with the world's fastest aging population. unemployment in the 17-nation eurozone remained at record highs in august. the european union statistics agency eurostat said the jobless rate for the month remained at 11.4%. that means unemployment in the zone stayed at record levels for three straight months. spain's jobless rate hit 25.1%, the highest in the country and the worst in the zone. for people under 25, the rate was 52.9%. 15.9% of people in portugal were out of work and 15% in ireland. tough employment conditions continue in those countries that are implementing austerity measures with assistance from the eu and imf.
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for greece, the latest data were available only for june. unemployment in the country stood at 24.4% in that month, up 7.2 percentage points from a year earlier. 29 years ago a soviet jet fighter shot down a south korean airliner. many died, and the incident sparked an uproar between the two superpowers at the time, the united states and the soviet union. the incident took place on september 1st, 1983, over the sea of japan. the airliner was on its way from new york to seoul. planes and ships from japan, the u.s., and the soviet union searched the waters for survivers but to no avail. all 269 passengers and crew were killed. incidents like this showed how the cold war could erupt into violent confrontation. on board the airliner was a young japanese man who hoped to become a jazz musician. nhk world's yukino koide interviewed his mother.
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♪ >> reporter: a young man composed this piece about 30 years ago. makoto okai studied jazz in college at boston and he recorded this tune. he had just graduated and was returning to japan aboard the airliner. it would have been his first trip home in three years. makoto was 32 when he died. but his mother, hitoko, just can't accept that he's gone. >> i'm not convinced when people tell me my son has died. i've never seen his remains, so
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i can't be sure. there's nothing to confirm his death. i wonder if he may still be alive somewhere. >> she lost her husband 11 years ago. she lives on her own in a city in miyazaki prefecture. her only tears and anguish of the dying victims seep into her works. >> this is it, his music. >> reporter: her son's music keeps her going. he recorded it all in the united states. in japan, hitoko put them on records and cds. she often finds herself listening to them. a piece entitled "f" is the one that touches her the most.
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he played it for her over the phone from the united states. >> translator: i feel makoto is nearby and protecting me. >> reporter: in august, hitoko visited the island near the crash site. she organized an event. >> translator: i thought i should do something that lots of people could participate in. i came up with the idea of firing pottery in the open air, a flame of prayer, a prayer for peace. >> reporter: hitoko has a dream to have lots of people listen to makoto's music on the island. >> translator: on the 30th
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anniversary of the tragedy, the notes from my son's music wafting northward toward the sea where the plane went down, that's my dream. i'll be happy if my feelings nd makoto's music strike the right note with everyone, even if only a few people turn up. >> reporter: hitoko is worried that over time people might forget the tragedy. but there's one thing she's sure of. she's determined to keep the memories of her son. yukino koide, nhk world, miyazaki. here's the world weather forecast. ♪
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that's all we have this hour on "newsline." i'm ross mihara in tokyo. thanks for being with us on nhk world.
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Euronews Midday
KCSMMHZ October 1, 2012 11:00am-11:30am PDT

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